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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Office of the Ombudsperson released an update on its report and recommendations from 2019 on protecting the rights of involuntary psychiatric patients in B.C.

The initial report from 2019 resulted from an investigation into whether mental health facilities complied with the procedural requirements for involuntary admissions.

The 24 recommendations presented focused on legally required form completion, which government and the health authorities accepted.

As of 2022, only eight recommendations have been fully implemented province-wide.

In a release, Ombudsperson recognized that progress has been made in developing auditing systems to increase form completion, improvements to staff training and the development of standards relating to involuntary detention forms.

Based on audits conducted by each health authority, there are still gaps in form compliance, with all forms being completed only 42 per cent of the time. This is up from 2019 when 28 per cent of forms were reported as being complete.

These forms include reasons for detention, treatment consent, notification of a patient’s rights and notification to relatives.

In particular, the Northern Health Authority only had 22 per cent of patient files containing all required forms, the lowest of all B.C. Health Authorities.

(Office of the Ombudsperson)

Additionally, some facilities used standard rubber stamps to claim to authorize treatment for individual patients instead of describing an actual treatment plan for specific patients.

In some other cases, physicians did not explain why a patient met the criteria for involuntary admission, yet the patient was admitted anyway.

To go into more detail about which forms were filled out completely, missing or incomplete, Ombudsperson created charts by health authority, where Northern Health falls nearly to the bottom of the pack.

(Office of the Ombudsperson)

According to Ombudsperson’s data, patients’ involuntary intake has increased yearly since 2011.

(Office of the Ombudsperson)

The full update can be viewed below:

The 2019 report can be viewed here:

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.